Too early for such great music…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

My resident coffee pro is back! Right now I’m sipping on an iced coffee and it’s delicious. Things just run better when my boy’s here. What in the hell am I going to do when he goes to college?!

Time to start training the others!

*sip* Ahhh.

Music this morning, too. The kids sacked out in the living room to watch a movie last night. It’s summer, so why not? They left the tv on one of the music channels. We get cable, and in the 400s there are music stations, all different kinds. They fell asleep to “Classic 90’s.” Boo yeah! My childhood memories. Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” is on. The only drawback is that you cannot, CAN NOT listen to that song without singing, and most of the kiddies are still sleeping.

Must…fight…urge to sing…

“I’m gonna free fall…out into nothin’…”

I tell you what, folks. This is some epic self control. And I’m not usually big on that.

I finally wrapped up a short story book I’ve been working on for what feels like forever. There’s so much to do in the nice weather that I’ve relegated my writing to certain slots. That’s fine, it just drags it out. In the winter there’s nothing TO do but sit and write. Well, I mean, I suppose I *could* play in the snow.

*snort*

Write and shovel and shovel and write. Not a bad way to pass the winter, actually. And boy, did I get a lot written.

Short stories are fun, but in some ways, far more difficult to write than a book. In a book, you’ve got plenty of time to nail the details. You can let the intricacies of character personalities unfold slowly, emerge in a gradual adventure of discovery. In a short story, you’ve got a few pages to make the reader get the picture.

OH MY GOD! “I Would Do Anything for Love” just came on!!! This not-singing torture just kicked up another notch. Why you gotta torture me, Meatloaf??

I sent the short stories to be edited, and started cleaning up the second book in my Mother series. Now that’s the kind of stuff I cruise through. Because I put more into novel-length stories, it’s so much easier to let my fingers fly. I spend so much time with those characters, in those worlds, that I don’t have to think about what this person would say or what that person would do in a situation. I’ve got time to make the characters friends, and you always know what your good friends are going to do.

“And I would do any-thing for looooove….”

I’m not going to get to do much writing today. Our floor pans for the rust we lovingly call a station wagon are on the docket to be installed today. I spent the other day making a body panel out of sheet metal with those fancy new hammers, then yesterday welding it in place, fiberglassing, and sanding. I must say, while initially daunting, this body work stuff is actually pretty fun. And my right arm is starting to give Popeye a run for his money. Screw spinach…you want strong arms, hammer, angle grinder, and sander. Surefire method.

Meatloaf, you’re killin’ me, man…

My kids always sleep with the radio on. I could never do that, to the dismay of my older sister. We shared a room, and she liked the radio at night. We compromised and listened until the top twenty count down on the local station was done. After the top song, the tunes went off. I just can’t shut my mind off and go to sleep if a good song comes on. And I get the weirdest damn dreams if a song I don’t like plays.

My boys love it, though. Studies have shown that listening to music in your sleep is a good thing, that it’s kind of a passive stimulant that helps neurons keep firing without making you tired. I don’t know how much validity those studies carry, but I do know that all four of my kids are smart cookies.

GOO GOO DOLLS!!! Holy smokes. Haven’t heard “Iris” in forever! I’m going to have to put this channel on more often.

I’ve mentioned that my kids are LARPers and gamers. They’re also very creative. Perhaps the music at night really does help. I’m sorry to their future loves. I hope they can find people who also like listening to the radio at night.

Shoot. Maybe I’m screwing them up. Maybe I’m making it harder for them in the future.

Bah. If the biggest relationship hurdle any of them has is a “to radio or not to radio” debate, I’d say they’d be doing pretty darn good.

Now that they’ve had the first week off from school, I’m going to institute the summer electronics rule. I don’t think I’m going to be very popular for a couple days. No electronics, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, unless it’s rainy or too dangerously hot to go outside. While I do allow them their gaming, I’ve also got to be a mom, not just a competitor. We can game Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekends.

At my boy’s oncology check up last week, the doc talked about screen limits. “Two hours a day for children. That includes tv, video games, computers, cell phones…”

I’ve heard this before. And I’ve ignored it before, so that’s nothing new. I don’t think pediatricians understand how much technology is in the life of a kid these days. My boys use their tablets, computers, and smart phones at school. AT school. The school knows the benefits of the amazing little hand-held screens.

HOLY SHIT is my resolve being tested right now. “Pump Up the Jam” just came on. No way I’m keeping quiet through this whole song!

…what was I saying? Oh, right. Screen time.

After the kids come home from a school day filled with screens, they have to do homework. Research and typing must be done on a computer. So does any of this count in the “screen time rule”?

See, even if we weren’t a gaming family, the kids would get three times the amount of time in front of a screen just doing what we adults have set before them to get accomplished. We’re then supposed to tell them the only thing they can do on these fantastic little gadgets is work? Sorry. I can’t do it.

Or, more accurately, I won’t.

One of my kids wants to be a programmer. Another wants to be an app designer, and the third teen wants to join a game house and create the next huge franchise. These career choices are not only interesting to the kids, they are very wise decisions in this day and age. The technology path is one of the most secure paths they could take. If they have the skills to program, create apps, code games, then they’ve got a wide variety of choices open to them when they get into the work force.

But, to do a job you love, you have to love the job. Right now is the time for them to fall in love with the careers they want. Now, before they realize the hard work involved. They won’t love all this great tech if all they ever use it for is looking up facts and typing papers.

I didn’t tell the doctor that I was going to once again blow off her recommendations. I know what she’s trying to avoid. She’s trying to avoid the kids becoming fat little shut-ins who can’t function outside the nest of empty Mt. Dew bottles and Cheetos bags that surround their screens in the safety of my basement. Trust me, Doc, I don’t want that, either. But the medical community is once again going about things the wrong way.

“You Learn”. Ah, Alanis. What a great song for this discussion! Timely indeed, tv radio…

The doctors are still focusing on an old statistic, on a number, as if the issue is as simple as a two hour guideline. By doing that, they are not saying the important part of the equation: involvement. Maybe it’s uncomfortable for a doctor to have to look at a parent and say, “Do you know what your son’s favorite book is? Who are his teachers? What subjects is he struggling with? What’s his favorite type of humor?” THAT’S what they should be saying. And there’s no way anyone can answer that if they let the electronics raise their kids.

Screw the two hours. I’m having them disconnect and play, but in a time table that works for them, for us. I’ll let them play their games all day. But the next, they’re going to get up and join me in the world outside the digital realm. Get yer eyeballs off the screen and make stuff. Do things. Help me outside. Take a walk. Realize that life is a balance between the fun little gadgets and everything else. There are so many great things in the world, and digital geekery is just part of that.

Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Sunday, June 29, 2014. I made it through without waking any kids up! I think that means I deserve a reward for my efforts. I’ll take cash. Pass around the hat. Thanks.

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